The Florida Bar

News Releases


July 31, 2023
CONTACT: Jennifer Krell Davis, [email protected]
TELEPHONE: 850-561-5670

Summaries of orders issued from June 28, 2023 to July 28, 2023

The Florida Bar, the state’s guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined ten attorneys, disbarring one, revoking the license of one and suspending eight.

The Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with administering a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of professional conduct for the more than 111,000 members of The Florida Bar. Key discipline case files that are public record are posted to attorneys’ individual online Florida Bar profiles. To view discipline documents, follow these steps. Information on the discipline system and how to file a complaint are available at

Court orders are not final until time expires to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined. The filing of such a motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline. Disbarred lawyers may not re-apply for admission for five years. They are required to go through an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the Bar exam. Attorneys suspended for periods of 91 days and longer must undergo a rigorous process to regain their law licenses including proving rehabilitation. Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment.

Leo Benitez, 122 Minorca Ave., Coral Gables, suspended for one year, effective 30 days following a July 20 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1989) Benitez filed and pursued a frivolous lawsuit, even after receiving evidence that demonstrated an affidavit on which he relied to support his claims was false. Benitez did not withdraw the affidavit, but rather he continued to rely on his client’s denials and did not conduct an independent assessment of the case. Benitez presented significant mitigation, including that he was sanctioned by the trial court for the frivolous litigation. He also accepted responsibility and showed remorse in the disciplinary proceedings. (Case No. SC22-649)

Aram Caldarera Bloom, 10800 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 600, Miami, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days following a July 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2009) Bloom neglected one client’s case by failing to communicate the status of the case; failing to timely respond to motions or attend hearings; and misinforming the client about the effect of the court’s ruling, resulting in $17,000 in court-ordered sanctions against the client. Respondent was remorseful and cooperative with the bar proceedings. (Case No. SC23-139)

Gale Marie Bobenhausen, 30 Bishop Creek Dr., Safety Harbor, suspended, effective 30 days following a July 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1984) Bobenhausen was held in contempt by the Court and suspended for her failure to respond to inquiries from The Florida Bar in Florida Bar File No. 2023-10,191(6A). The Florida Bar filed its Petition for Contempt and Order to Show Cause on May 9, 2023, and the Florida Supreme Court ordered Bobenhausen to respond by May 25, 2023. Bobenhausen failed to file a response. Bobenhausen is to remain suspended until she has fully responded in writing to the official Bar inquiries, and until further order of the Court. (Case No. SC23-0660)

A. Marie Delapena, P.O. Box 3271, Windermere, suspended for 90 days, effective immediately following a July 23 court order. (Admitted to practice; 2019) Delapena failed to disclose her termination of employment from a law firm to The Florida Bar on her application for admission to the bar. (Case No. SC22-1372)

Denise A. Gunn, 2800 Davis Blvd., Suite 206, Naples, suspended, effective 30 days following a July 19 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) Gunn failed to respond to an official bar inquiry in Florida Bar File No. 2022-10,464(20B). The Florida Bar filed a Petition for Contempt and Order to Show Cause on May 22, 2023, and the Florida Supreme Court ordered Gunn to show cause by June 6, 2023. Gunn failed to file a response to the Court’s Order to Show Cause. Gunn is ordered to be suspended until she fully responds in writing to the official bar inquiry and until further order of the Court. (Case No. SC23-0727)

Gregory Michael Nordt, 7501 NW 4th St., Suite 207A, Fort Lauderdale, suspended for three years, effective immediately following a July 20 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Nordt entered a plea of nolo contendere to leaving the scene of a crash with personal injuries, a third-degree felony, and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) causing property damage/personal injury, a misdemeanor. (Case No. SC22-789)

Brian McKenna O’Connell, 120 N. US 1, Tequesta, suspended for one year and required to attend Ethics School, effective 30 days following a June 29 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1980) O’Connell used funds from a client’s trust based on his belief that the terms of the trust permitted him to borrow those funds. O’Connell failed to advise his client to seek independent counsel regarding the provision in the trust that O’Connell believed allowed him to borrow funds for his own use. O’Connell paid back the funds with interest a few months after using them. He also made a charitable donation on behalf of the client but told the charity it was on his own behalf and then deducted the same donation on his tax return. O’Connell stated that these acts were mistakes that he ultimately corrected, both with the charity and by filing an amended tax return. (Case No. SC22-699)

Elizabeth K. Richert, 8724 SW 72nd St., #282, Miami, disciplinary revocation with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective 30 days following a July 13 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) Richert received a judicial referral stemming from a judgment entered against her in a civil action brought by her family members. Richert’s family members alleged that she fraudulently failed to distribute $95,850.83 to them as required by a family trust. As a result of those proceedings The Florida Bar tendered the Petition for Disciplinary Revocation. (Case No. SC23-0614)

J. Matthew Thorstad,11105 157 Place N., Jupiter, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days following a July 6 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2011) Thorstad issued improper subpoenas in ongoing litigation and concealed the existence of these subpoenas from the parties, non-parties and their counsel in an attempt to obtain records directly from a third-party health provider. In issuing the subpoenas, Thorstad violated the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and numerous court orders. Thorstad was found to be in indirect criminal contempt and civil contempt for this conduct. (Case No. SC22-1575)

Raegan S. Yunger,125 S. Swoope Ave., Suite 210, Maitland, permanent disbarment, effective immediately following a July 13 court order due to Yunger’s existing suspension from the practice of law. (Admitted to practice: 2005) On March 10, 2021, Yunger was arrested and indicted by grand jury with murder in the first degree and possession of methamphetamine. On January 19, 2023, Yunger pled guilty to one count of manslaughter, a second-degree felony, and one count of possession of methamphetamine, a third-degree felony. The trial court adjudicated Yunger guilty and sentenced her to 10 years in the Florida Department of Corrections. On January 26, 2023, the Supreme Court of Florida entered its order suspending Yunger pursuant to Rules Regulating Fla. Bar 3-7.2(f). (Case No. SC23-116)


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